My research program focuses on the epidemiology of ovarian and lung cancers. Ovarian cancer is by far the most deadly of all gynecologic cancers. Most patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to the poor prognosis, and we are currently limited in our ability to detect disease early. There is overwhelming evidence that healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of several cancers. However, we do not yet know of any effective ways to prevent the onset of ovarian cancer. The evidence on some lifestyle factors, such as alcohol intake, physical activity and smoking, is suggestive but currently remains unclear. More research is greatly needed, especially in light of recent discoveries that demonstrate that ovarian cancer is a heterogeneous disease. I am the Principal Investigator of The Prevention of Ovarian Cancer in Quebec (PROVAQ) Study, a population-based case-control study conducted in 2011-2016. This study provides a rich data source for the study of multiple hypotheses on lifestyle factors and ovarian cancer risk. Current projects focus on associations with shift work, caffeine intake and recreational physical activity. Recruitment in this study was funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Cancer Research Society GRePEC program.
Healthy lifestyle choices may also positively impact the health of ovarian cancer survivors. Indeed, until we know how to prevent ovarian cancers from occurring in the first place, cancer control through tertiary prevention aimed at improving prognosis and quality of life among those diagnosed is critical. Currently, the only factors that have been found to potentially influence ovarian cancer prognosis are non-modifiable and include clinical characteristics (e.g. stage of disease, therapy response) and biological characteristics of the tumour (e.g. histology, grade). However, cancer patients are increasingly asking their health care providers what they themselves can change in their lifestyles to influence their prognosis. Identifying such lifestyle factors not only has the potential to improve ovarian cancer outcomes, it also can empower survivors of this deadly disease to take control of their health. I am Principal Investigator of the Lifestyle Habits and the Prognosis of Ovarian Cancer in Quebec (HPROQ) Study, which began in 2015 with a primary objective to examine physical activity, diet, vitamin D exposure, smoking, and alcohol intake in relation to ovarian cancer recurrence. We are currently in the first phase of the study, funded by a Pilot Award by the US Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.
Due to its high incidence and high lethality, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Canada and worldwide. While cigarette smoking is the most important risk factor, since lung cancer also occurs among individuals who have never smoked and only ~15% of smokers eventually develop lung cancer, this suggests that that other factors play a role in the etiology of lung cancer. My research on lung cancer is based on a case-control study conducted in Montreal in 1996-2001 and focuses on occupational and lifestyle factors. Current projects are on exposure to stressful life events and anthropometry
I am also involved in several collaborative initiatives, including the assessment of diet among participants in the CARTaGENE cohort, the eventual pooling of data from PROVAQ in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) and collaborations focused on the methods of dietary assessment and in conducting nutritional epidemiological analyses.
Education and training
Postdoctoral fellowship, Nutrition, genetic and cancer epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
PhD, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill, Montreal, QC
MSc, Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
BSc, Pharmacology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Associate Professor, Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal
- Ho V, Parent ME, Pintos P, Abrahamowicz M, Danieli C, Richardon L, Bourbonnais R, Gauvin L, Siemiatycki J, Koushik A. Physical activity and lung cancer risk in men and women. Cancer Causes Control, 2017 (doi: 10.1007/s10552-017-0872-4).
- Lo Siou G, Csizmadi I, Boucher BA, Akawung AK, Whelan HK, Sharma M, Rajabi AA, Vena JE, Kirkpatrick SI, Koushik A, Massarelli I, Rondeau I, Robson P. The comparative reliability and feasibility of the past-year Canadian Diet History Questionnaire II: Comparison of the paper and web versions. Nutrients, 2017 (doi: 10.3390/nu9020133).
- Shareck M, Rousseau MC, Koushik A, Siemiatycki J, Parent ME. Inverse association between dietary intake of selected carotenoids and vitamin C and risk of lung cancer. Front Oncol, 2017 (doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2017.00023).
- Koushik A, Grundy A, Abrahamowicz M, Arseneau J, Gilbert L, Gotlieb W, Lacaille J, Mes-Masson AM, Parent MP, Provencher D, Richardson L, Siemiatycki J. Hormonal and reproductive factors and the risk of ovarian cancer. Cancer Causes Control, 2017 (doi: 10.1007/s10552-016-0848-9).
- Pasquet R, Karp I, Siemiatycki J, Koushik A. Intake of black tea and coffee and the risk of lung cancer. Ann Epidemiol, 2016;26(11):757-763.e2.
- Csizmadi I, Boucher B, Lo Siou G, Massarrelli I, Rondeau I, Garriguet D, Koushik A, Elenko J, Subar AF. Using national dietary intake data to evaluate and adapt the US Diet History Questionnaire: the stepwise tailoring of an FFQ for Canadian populations. Public Health Nutr, 2016;28:1-9.
- Koushik A, Wang M, Anderson KE, van den Brandt P, Clendenen TV, Eliassen AH, Freudenheim JL, Genkinger JM, Håkansson N, Marshall JR, McCullough ML, Miller AB, Robien K, Rohan TE, Schairer C, Schouten LJ, Tworoger SS, Wang Y, Wolk A, Zeleniuch-Jacquotte A, Smith-Warner SA. Intake of vitamins A, C, and E and folate and the risk of ovarian cancer in a pooled analysis of 10 cohort studies. Cancer Causes Control, 2015;26(9):1315-27.
- Mahboubi A, Koushik A, Siemiatycki J, Lavoué J, Rousseau MC. Assessment of the effect of occupational exposure to formaldehyde on the risk of lung cancer in two Canadian population-based case-control studies. Scand J Work Environ Health 2013;39(4):401-10.
- Christensen KY*, Naidu A*, Parent, M-É, Pintos J, Abrahamowicz M, Siemiatycki J, Koushik A. The risk of lung cancer related to dietary intake of flavonoids. *The first two authors contributed equally to this work, Nutr Cancer 2012;64(7):964-74.
- Koushik A, Spiegelman D, Albanes D, Anderson KE, Bergkvist L, Bernstein L, van den Brandt P, English DR, Freudenheim JL, Fuchs CS, Genkinger JM, Giles GG, Goldbohm RA, Horn-Ross PL, Mannisto S, McCullough ML, Millen A, Miller AB, Robien K, Rohan TE, Schatzkin A, Shikany JM, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Willett WC, Wolk A, Ziegler RG, Smith-Warner SA. Intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of pancreatic cancer in a pooled analysis of 14 cohort studies. Am J Epidemiol, 2012;176(5):373-86.
Phone: 514-890-8000 # 15915
CRCHUM Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub